The St. Patrick's Day Parade in Hartford is one of the best holidays for Hartford. Why? Because people are actually in Hartford for the parade. The one mile route which begins at the Capital and ends at the Sailors Arch is an interesting walk. The side walks are lined with people from all over the state. If the weather cooperates the crowd can be as big as 75,000 people.
The parade has many floats and organizations that march to the cheers of the crowd. Every year the Hartford Whalers Booster Club marches in the parade. They meet in front of the Capital before every parade begins. They almost always will run into the Governor, Mayor, both Senators and some State Senators too. They get in a few words about how the NHL could become a huge asset to Hartford's economic revival and after they have made their point, they march in the parade.
The reception from the city is something to witness. The HWBC never has a ton of participants but they always have a few dozen or more people who come out to represent the club. The roster is full of new people every year. I have been a part of walking in the parade since 2009 and it is something I look forward to every year. The HWBC will allow anyone to walk with them as long as they are wearing green or a Whalers shirt and/or jersey.
At almost every turn of the route there are chants from the crowds to the HWBC. "Let's go Whaler's" is a chant that never gets old and everyone knows it. Even kids who have never seen the Whalers play a game in Hartford join in. The HWBC will take pictures to point out people in the crowd who are wearing their Whalers jerseys. There are so many Whalers jerseys and shirts in the crowd that occasionally parade watchers have left their sidewalk spot to walk the remainder of the parade with the HWBC. It's happened several times.
This year the HWBC ran into Bob Backlund the former WWF Champion back in 1981. He was down on Asylum St. which is usually the loudest street when the parade is going.
The Whalers have not much in common with St. Patrick's Day other than the green. However they are a great part of the cities history. The memory of the Whalers is strong it always has been. The saying from Kermit the frog was that it wasn't easy being green but in Hartford it is.
When the Whalers moved here in 1975 they brought the color green with them and it was the main color of the hockey team in Hartford up until 1997. The Wolf Pack came in and Madison Square Garden decided to go with their traditional colors, which are blue and red. It wasn't until 2010 when the current team was rebranded as the Connecticut Whale that green returned. The Whale's away jerseys are primarily green but you only see them when the Whale is on the road.
However, today you can see the green jerseys though as the Connecticut Whale will wear their green jerseys for St. Patrick's Day game against the Springfield Falcons.
Enjoy your St. Patrick's day and in future St. Patrick's Day Parades come join the HWBC for a walk and wear your Whaler green too.